The Penderwick family, consisting of four sisters, dad, a dog, and assorted rabbits, spend a summer holiday at the cottage house of a sprawling estate. You would think the setting and the girl’s unique personalities and idiosyncrasies would have offered an interesting, character-driven book. Alas, I found the characters too stereotyped, the dialogue forced, and the plot weak.
The sisters rarely served as decent role models. They sneak around, go where they’re told not to, and then lie to cover their tracks. The book brought back bad memories of the kind of stuff my sisters and I pulled when we were little. The one plus I did find with the book was kids might learn a few Latin phrases from Mr. Penderwick, a botanist. The Penderwicks won the 2005 National Book award for young people (see link below). I guess a little Latin can be very redeeming.
Related website: http://www.nationalbook.org/nba2005_ypl_birdsall.html